Monday, January 09, 2017

[Book] Os Guinness -- The Dust of Death (1973)

Os Guinness

The Dust of Death (1973)

1. I am presently re-reading some 20 to 30 books that have a formative influence on me in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Among the books is Os Guinness's The Dust of Death: A Critique of the Counter Culture (1973).

The Dust of Death (1973) made sense of the zeitgeist or spirit of the age among the youth of the 1960s and 1970s for me.

How and why did the generation that benefited from the material prosperity of post World War II became lost spiritually?

Os Guinness, with sensitivity, analyzed the antecedents and consequences of the optimism / pessimism dialectic of Humanism.

This book is a large scale cultural study and is very good.

2. The Holy Bible

(1 Corinthians 13:1-7 HCSB):

[1] If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

[2] If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.

[3] And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

[4] Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,

[5] does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.

[6] Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.

[7] It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

3. The music and lyrics of Suicide is Painless (1970)
(theme song of M.A.S.H.):

(a) Music:

(b) Lyrics:

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...

* That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
All our little joys relate
Without that ever-present hate
But now I know that it's too late, and...
Repeat *

The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
So this is all I have to say.
Repeat *

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
And to another give my seat
For that's the only painless feat.
Repeat *

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows it grin, but...
Repeat *

A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
Is it to be or not to be
And I replied 'oh why ask me?'
Repeat *
...and you can do the same thing if you please.

4. The Holy Bible

(1 Corinthians 13:8-13 HCSB):

[8] Love never ends.
But as for prophecies,
they will come to an end;
as for languages, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

[9] For we know in part,
and we prophesy in part.

[10] But when the perfect comes,
the partial will come to an end.

[11] When I was a child,
I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man,
I put aside childish things.

[12] For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part,
but then I will know fully,
as I am fully known.

[13] Now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

5. Table of Contents of The Dust of Death (1973):



Chapter 1: The Striptease of Humanism
The Rise of Optimistic Humanism
The Surfacing of Pessimism
Four Pillars of Optimistic Humanism
The Striptease of Humanism
The Twilight of Western Thought

Chapter 2: Utopia or Oblivion?
The Importance of Futurology
Constructing a Scenario
Profiles of the Future
Planetary, Global and Biological Engineering
Sociological Change
The Optimists
The Pessimists: Ten Pressure Points
The Failure of Nerve

Chapter 3: The Great Refusal
Beginning with the Beat
The European Scene
The Angry Young Men
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Provos
The Hippies
The New Left
The Failure of the New Left
The Parting of the Ways
Heightened Repression
From Realism to Romanticism

Chapter 4: One Dimensional Man
The Critique of Technocracy
The System
Critical Voices of the Fifties: Riesman, Whyte, Goodman and Mills
The Critical Voice of the Sixties: Marcuse
The Critical Voice of the Seventies: Ellul
Technophobia or Clarity of Vision?
The Weakness of the New Left-Not Its Critique But Its Alternative
Tragedy, Irony, Absurdity

Chapter 5: Violence-Crisis or Catharsis?
Violence in Political Theory
Violence in Evolutionary Theory
Violence in Psychoanalytic Theory
Violence in Cultural Theory
Violence as Catharsis
Violence as Crisis
Christianity and Violence: Traditional Views
Christianity and Violence: A Radical Understanding
Non-Violence and Christian Realism
Non-Violence and the "Use" of Force
Non-Violence and the "Understanding" of Violence
Non-Violence the Only Resort
Forgiveness Our Only Response
The Third Way

Chapter 6: The East, No Exit
East Meets West in San Francisco
Stirrings in the East and West
The East and Post-Christian West
The Silence of God
Ecology and the Nature of Nature
The Weakness of Western Christianity
Monism: An Eastern Presupposition
Monism and Reality
Monism and Personality
Monism and Morality
A Christian Alternative
Tolerance: East and West

Chapter 7: The Counterfeit Infinity
Paradise Now
The History of Marijuana
Objections to Psychedelics
Charting the Psychedelic Experience
Death and Evolution
Utopian Dreams
The Psychedelics and God
Psychedelics and the East
The Psychedelics and Alienation
The Psychedelics and Christian Experience

Chapter 8: Encircling Eyes
The Fire Burns Low
Back to the Occult- Why?
The Christian and the Occult

Chapter 9: The Ultimate Trip?
The Image of the Church
The Intellectual Stance of the Church
The Jesus Revolution
Christianity: Psychological Truth
Can Christianity Be Verified?
Christianity and Falsification
God's Self-Disclosure
General Revelation: The World and Man
Special Revelation: Christ and the Bible
The Logic of One's Choice

Chapter 10: The Third Race
What Not to Do
The Third Race
Constructive Christian Radicalism
The Necessity of Christian Radicalism
The Logic of Christian Premises
Radicalism and Creativity
Christian Compassion
True Understanding
Is It Possible?


Guinness, Os. 1973. The Dust of Death: A Critique of the Counter Culture. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

"Os Guinness", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2017-01-09).

"Suicide Is Painless", Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia,
(accessed 2017-01-09).